1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle


The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a book that talks about a caterpillar emerging out from an egg and spends an entire week feasting on all kinds of foods (As he eats through each food, he also eats holes in the book big enough for little fingers to fit through). At the end of the week, the caterpillar has become a huge caterpillar. Due to the feasting, the caterpillar suffers from a bad stomachache. After eating a piece of leaf, he feels better and builds a cocoon where he sleeps for two weeks. At the end of the second week, he emerges as a beautiful butterfly!

The story of the life cycle of a butterfly, from a tiny egg, to caterpillar, cocoon, and finally a beautiful butterfly, were told in simple terms in this storybook. This story also includes a variety of foods to talk about, and is a great starting point for learning about healthy and not-so-healthy foods. The time line of the story presents the days of the week and through this story, children will get to learn about the sequence of events.

Age: Recommended for ages 2 and up (younger children may enjoy the book too)

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a children’s book written by Eric Carle, a writer who won many awards. This book is widely regarded as one of the best children’s books ever written.

2. I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly – illustrated by Pam Adams


There was an old lady who swallowed a fly is a humorous folk song/silly rhyme that was turned into a children’s book. It describes a lady that swallowed a fly, spider, bird, cat, dog, cow and horse and the aftermath of it. What’s more interesting is the hole in the middle of the page that  gives a good view of what the old lady has swallowed. Children finds it interesting and funny witnessing the different creatures in the old lady’s stomach. Young readers are attracted to the  colorful illustrations and the rhyming story.

This rhyme has a catch tune to it so don’t be surprised if you find yourself wanting to sing, instead of reading it. With repetitive sentences, it is a great book to encourage children to follow and sing along when the adult reads or sings to them. Kids just love this book!

Age: Recommended for ages 2 and up (younger children may enjoy the book too)

3. Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes


Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse talks about Lilly, a little mouse who loves school and adores her teacher Mr. Slinger. However, Lilly’s love for her teacher takes a downturn when she brings her new purple plastic purse to class. Mr. Slinger confiscates Lily’s purple purse because she interrupts the class in the attempt to show it off to her classmates. Anger drives Lilly to write a nasty letter with a mean portrait of her teacher, and she hides it in her teacher’s bag. But when the young girl opens her returned purse outside of school, she finds a note reading, “Today was a difficult day. Tomorrow will be better”, and some yummy snacks are included. Wracked with guilt, Lilly realizes that she must apologize to her beloved teacher.

The book provides children insights into conflict resolution when face with problematic situation. With the simple story structure, children learn about resolving conflicts in an amicable way. Furthermore, there are plenty of ‘teachable moments’ that adults can share and talk to their kids about, such as anger management, forgiving others, importance of apologising etc.

For children who haven’t been exposed to a day care or preschool environment, this book shows how a child learns to interact with an adult other than her parents in a classroom environment, specifically with a school teacher in a respectful manner.

Age: Recommended for ages 4 and up

4. Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina


Caps for Sale is a book that talks about a peddler who has 17 caps stacks up on his head. This peddler cannot sell off a single cap that day and decides to find a great tree that he can sit and rest. However, when he awakes, 16 other caps stacked on his head are gone. In fact, it has been stolen by a troop of monkeys, who now sit at the top of the tree wearing them. The peddler tries all means to get the monkeys to return his caps but the monkeys only imitate him. Unknowingly, this actually sparks off a brilliant idea for the peddler to get back all his caps.

This book is a great book that children enjoy reading with familiarity as the repetitive parts in the story will gradually encourages children to join in when the adults re-read the story over again. Since the author continues her use of repetition and word ordering, and maintains the same style and colour scheme of pale blue, red, browns and greens for the illustrations, children can easily relate and follow along.

Age: Recommended for ages 3 and up

5. Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young


Based on an Indian fable, seven blind mice set out to discover the “Something” (an elephant) by the pond, only to learn that “knowing in part may make a fine tale, but wisdom comes from seeing the whole.” Each mouse visits the “Something” on a different day of the week and imagines what the “Something” really was. However, each blind mice returns home with an incorrect description of the elephant’s body parts. They see a cliff, a spear, a pillar, a snake, a rope — but it is only when the seventh mouse experience the whole “Something” then he is able to “see” the elephant.

This would be an excellent book to use with young children when teaching about the importance of not “judging a book by its cover.” This story highlights the importance of not judging someone or something before one gets to know, understand or see the whole picture. Furthermore, it also introduces young readers to the days of the week, ordinal and cardinal numbers, and ranges of color and more.

Age: Recommended for ages 4 and up

Reading to our children can do far more than simply helping them excel in school. In fact, reading to them can instill a love for reading that will last them a lifetime. Raising a fluent reader is not difficult, start reading to your child today!